It happened again. Another shooting. More lives lost. More outrage. And nothing will change.
Even as I write these words I can’t help but wonder what is wrong with the United States of America that we can’t see something has to be done. Gun control? Mental health services? What is the answer?
While the initial and visceral reaction is to control guns, that may not be the only solution to the mass shootings that are happening around the country.
When you were a kid and you were playing with matches what did your parents do? They took the matches away so you wouldn’t hurt yourself or someone else. When someone has been drinking too much what do friends do? They take their friend’s car keys away so they won’t hurt themselves or someone else. Taking away what could hurt someone is the responsible thing to do. When we allow deadly weapons to get into the hands of someone who is unstable enough to willingly fire those weapons on innocent people, we are not being responsible.
But it’s a multi-pronged approach in my view that will solve this issue and we need to recognize and get help for people who are struggling mentally. We need to stop marginalizing children and adults who many not fit in and treat everyone with kindness and inclusion. And, knowing full well that there will be people who slip through the cracks of mental health screenings, we need to tighten up the rules and regulations related to purchase of a gun.
We are told the shooter in Uvalde, Texas legally purchased the weapons just days before. If there had been a three month or six month or even a one month waiting period before he got his guns, could tragedy have been averted? We’ll never know of course, but taking time to do a really thorough background check and allowing for a cooling off period for someone who is having a mental health crisis seems a logical requirement does it not?
There is no easy answer especially when our constitution guarantees the right to bear arms, but consider this. In 1787, when our constitution was established, could they possibly have known that those arms would be used in such a manner? Just because something is a “right” doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have to meet certain standards to have that right. We have the “right” to vote, but there are conditions. Just because you have a right doesn’t mean it has to be easy to access.
That brings me to my last point in this multi-pronged approach of dealing with these shootings. It comes on election day. Each of us has the power to cast our vote for someone who can change the law so that these tragedies don’t happen again. Harness your power by voting for someone who will do something to stop it. Don’t vote for someone who will simply stand in front of a microphone and express their sympathies. All the platitudes in the world will not bring a loved one back. It’s time to elect legislators who will act no matter how powerful the lobbyists are and no matter how much they lose in campaign donations. We need legislators who will do the right thing.
There is no easy answer to solve these massacres, but solve it we must. Lives depend on it.
Hug your loved ones and be well my friends…